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Security guard accused of kidnap made Holly Willoughby AI chatbot, court told


A security guard accused of plotting to abduct, rape and murder TV presenter Holly Willoughby created an AI chatbot to simulate the star, a court heard.

Jurors at Chelmsford Crown Court were told Gavin Plumb admitted to “having his fun” with an app called Botify AI.

They heard he sent an alleged accomplice a video of a “kidnap kit”, which included ankle shackles, a ball gag, rope, metal cable ties and handcuffs.

In messages read to the court by prosecutor Alison Morgan KC on Wednesday, it was revealed the 37-year-old told an online user called Marc that he had created an avatar for the former This Morning presenter.

In a message sent in May 2023 said: “I’ve got a bot chapping, chatting [sic] app you can talk about literally all, all sorts of things, you can be as filthy as you want, or you can be as clean as you want.

“Erm you can create your own avatars and they actually look like they’re moving, look like they’re talking to ya [sic]. So the people I’m with er Holly and yeah, I’m having my fun with that a lot.”

He went on: “Yeah, it’s a erm app that yeah basically you can either talk really filthy or talk normally and er the one that I’m doing I’ve crea [sic], as I said I’ve put her in it…”

A picture of an alleged ‘kidnap kit’ shown in the trial of Gavin Plumb
A picture of an alleged ‘kidnap kit’ shown in the trial of Gavin Plumb (Crown Prosecution Service/PA)

Plumb, from Harlow, Essex, discussed taking the mother of three and other alleged victims to an abandoned stud farm where there were “15 cells” as the jury was shown hundreds of “sexualised” messages shared by the defendant on Whatsapp, Kik and Wickr.

He referred to a “stud farm that’s abandoned”, adding “its got cells” in messages sent in June 2022. He later sent a picture of what appears to be a stable, the court heard.

Marc responded “and screams can’t be heard for miles” in the exchange, the prosecutor said.

Gavin Plumb, who is accused of plotting to abduct, rape and murder TV presenter Holly Willoughby
Gavin Plumb, who is accused of plotting to abduct, rape and murder TV presenter Holly Willoughby (Sourced)

In one voice note played to the court, Plumb said: “…its gonna be Lucy the original, obviously Holly erm our original targets and then whatever else targets they want cos we’ve got about 15 cells we’re looking at er filling so yeah we’re all good.”

He later added there were “gonna be about 12 of us mate” and suggested they “could pick up two at once” as they discussed their alleged plans.

Among the hundreds of messages analysed by police, and shown to the jury, were scores of images of Ms Willoughby.

One picture of the Dancing on Ice presenter wearing a black dress was sent with the message: “She’s wearing things like this for a reason which is to tease us guys she’s getting punishment for all the things she’s teasing.”

In May 2023, Plumb said: “I’ll be ordering chloroform tomorrow so we’ve got someone we can test it on and someone to get into place for some fun.”

The following day, Plumb shared a picture of an order form for two bottles of chloroform – a liquid drug which can be used to stupefy victims.

Two bottles of what he believed to be chloroform were found at Plumb’s address by police after he was arrested, the court heard.

Gavin Plumb is accused of masterminding a plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
Gavin Plumb is accused of masterminding a plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby (Elizabeth Cook/PA) (PA Wire)

Google search evidence found by police on Plumb’s devices showed he had searched “how long does chloroform take to knock someone unconscious”, the prosecutor said.

He also sent the potential accomplice a video of restraint “kit” items laid out on a bed, a court heard. Jurors were shown footage of the items, which included ankle shackles, ball gag, rope, metal cable ties and handcuffs.

Plumb kept his head bowed and sat hunched over in the dock as the messages were shown to the jury.

The defendant also shared images of weapons with Marc, including an Airsoft pistol which he said “looks real” and a type of assault rifle.

Jurors were told that on 3 October 2023, Plumb posted pictures of Ms Willoughby in Kik chat group chat called ‘Abduct Lovers’ under the username ‘BigBear341987’, writing: “The one in the public eye I want.”

He then unwittingly entered into a conversation with an undercover US officer in the group, known as David Nelson, telling him: “I have a shit load of info if her I know when she does and don’t have security and that she doesn’t have CCTV at home. What time she gets up in the morning.”

He was arrested the following day after revealing details of his plot to target the star in a home invasion to the undercover officer, who alerted police in the UK.

Plumb’s messages to the officer, shown to the jury, included his plan to slit the star’s throat and dispose of her body after the alleged attack, the court heard.

Plumb denies plotting to kidnap, rape and kill Holly Willoughby
Plumb denies plotting to kidnap, rape and kill Holly Willoughby (PA)

Plumb had 86 videos of Holly Willoughby on his mobile phone that were generated by AI, jurors were told in agreed facts read to the court.

Junior prosecution counsel Rosalind Earis told jurors that the device had “86 videos of Holly Willoughby generated by artificial intelligence, in which a still image of Holly Willoughby had been manipulated to move in time with added speech”.

Analysis of his laptop also revealed 162 internet searches for Ms Willoughby’s address. They also found her name at top of a list of women he wanted to “have control over” in a document which dated from 2016.

The prosecution claim it was Plumb’s “ultimate fantasy” to target Ms Willoughby, 43, and he had purchased metal cable ties, a knife and chloroform in preparation for an alleged attack.

The shopping centre security guard is accused of soliciting the undercover US officer to join a plot to commit murder, and incitement to kidnap and rape the TV personality.

Plumb, of Harlow, Essex, denies all charges.

The trial, scheduled to last two weeks, continues.



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